Star Wars: Empire Ascendant Connects Legends Bounty Hunter to Return of the Jedi

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, the studio relegated all stories that unfolded outside of the live-action movies or the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated adventures as no longer being canon, casting those characters to the "Legends" corner of the franchise. While this move disappointed many fans of those characters, recent years have seen a variety of storytellers bring those Legends characters back into the fold for canonical adventures, with the recent one-shot Star Wars: Empire Ascendant chronicling how the bounty hunter Beliert Valance secretly played a part in helping the Rebels destroy the Empire in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

WARNING: Spoilers below for Star Wars: Empire Ascendant

The comic book contains a number of stories, with "Two Sides to Every Sortie," written by Ethan Sacks with art by Paolo Villanelli, depicting Han Solo reaching out to Valance to transport a spy with Imperial intelligence. The spy goes on to note that his family was enslaved by the Empire, which is what inspired him to turn his back on the nefarious organization.

After a number of close encounters with the Empire, Valance discovers that this "spy" is planning a double-cross on the Rebellion, as he is actually working for the Imperials to gain intel about the Rebels, which would make Valance guilty by association. The bounty hunter decides to kill the spy, but still manages to bring the information he had to Mon Mothma on the Home One, as readers learn that the plans the spy had were about the shield generator on the Forest Moon of Endor.

star wars empire ascendant beilert valance
(Photo: Marvel Comics)

In Return of the Jedi, Mon Mothma famously noted that "many Bothans died to bring us this information," leading fans to speculate about who or what Bothans were in the canonical storyline. While this story might not offer any insight into those characters, learning that Valance, who had been erased from canon completely, was brought back to play a significant role in the original trilogy of films will surely excite fans of the character.

Luckily for fans, this is far from the last we'll be seeing of the character, as he is set to return in the all-new Marvel Comics series Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, which will explore not only his adventures, but also the stories of characters like Boba Fett, Bossk, and more.

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters debuts in March 2020. Star Wars: Empire Ascendant is on sale now.


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